Thursday, 9 December 2021

We can always opt out


Whatever Johnson was apologising for yesterday, it wasn’t for the holding of an illegal party in Downing Street, an event which he still claims never happened, despite it having taken place just a few yards from the office where he was allegedly ‘working’ at the time, and despite the increasingly detailed reports, including this one (from a Tory-supporting newspaper, the Times) saying that the party started at 6pm and ended with people leaving “rat-arsed” shortly before 2am. I’m not even sure that he was apologising for the jokey way in which his staff tried to work out how they would handle questions if the press ever found out about it. I suspect that what he was really ‘apologising’ for was the fact that the recording had become public. It’s a misdirected ‘apology’ if ever there was one.

He also said that he was furious. I believe him on that, but given his past record and the nature of the man, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that his real fury is directed at whoever leaked the recording. And more time will probably be spent investigating that than investigating whether a party was or was not held, the latter being a question to which they already know the answer. In the meantime, the first person thrown under a bus by the PM is someone who wasn’t even at the non-party; and it seems likely that other staff will shortly suffer a similar fate.

Leaving aside the jokiness in the video, which inevitably looks callous and unsympathetic in the circumstances, the question asked of Stratton at the rehearsal was a clear sign both that the staff knew how damaging the party could be and that they needed to have answers ready if it did come to light. It would have been better if, knowing that, they hadn’t ploughed ahead and held it anyway, but there is a sense in which preparing a response in advance is a sign of a residual degree of professionalism. It makes the eventual handling of the response when it did come to light look even more clumsy and incompetent. They had 12 whole months to prepare their answers and they botched it. The reason for that comes back to the man at the centre: preparation and sticking to an agreed script is not exactly one of his better known character traits. He much prefers to ‘busk’, to fly by the seat of his pants, to make up whatever answer he thinks will deal with the immediate question, and then stonewall and bluster until the media get fed up and the issue goes away. Professional staff are wasted on him.

It’s too easy, though, to see this whole saga as being about what happens when a lying and incompetent clown gets elected to an office where there are no real checks and balances. The questions we should be considering are how he ever got into a position for which he is so obviously unsuited, and why there are so few checks and balances that his ultimate downfall lies in a sufficient number of Tory MPs becoming convinced that his continued occupation of the role makes them more likely to lose than to hold their seats. The answer to both of those questions is that we have a political system which is arcane, broken and unfit for purpose, and which neither of the two main English parties seem to have any motive to fix. Any sincere unionist, who really believed that the UK as an entity was worth preserving, would be giving serious thought to the questions but they prefer to close their eyes to reality and preside over the continuing decline and rot. No matter what Welsh or Scottish politicians think, only English politicians can solve this. We don’t have to remain part of it, though.


CapM said...

"...about what happens when a lying and incompetent clown gets elected to an office..."

A significant number of voters knew he was a lying and incompetent clown before voting in a way that won him the last election. I'd like to see this pointed out by the media. It seems the electorate is beyond reproach.
Who's ultimately responsible the clown or those who bought tickets to the circus.

dafis said...

Yes, some circus. That tearful display by Stratton was really about getting found out because it crushed her cushy number long before she planned to leave. There is no doubt that within Government circles more people knew about events, even when they did not attend,than those who were genuinely unaware. The whole shambles is rotten to the core and these pigs will ride their comfortable majority for as long as it lasts. I also get the feeling that Starmer hasn't really got the stomach for taking over the job of leading the UK because he too doesn't have much of a clue about steering a vehicle that feels like the engine has seized up. There was a time when a party of government might contain a core of (relatively)trustworthy and competent elements. I'm buggered if I can see such people among this moronic lot. Could they even muster an 8 man crew without sinking the boat ? Hard to get a decent 4 man(or person) crew together.

Speaking of boats - imagine the Mistress of the Manche - the equally odious Priti Patel taking over from Boris sometime soon. Strong on the sort of rhetoric that goes down well with Tories deprived of any critical faculties she has the capacity to take the country into even deeper depths of shite.

As Eric Burdon said over 50 years ago "We gotta get out of this place...."

John Dixon said...

"We gotta get out of this place...." Well, yes, of course. Although, as I recall, the next line was "if it's the last thing we ever do" - I'd prefer to enjoy the first decade or two of independence if at all possible.

dafis said...

I guess that was what US troops had in mind when they sang it with a jarring note when exiting Vietnam !.